APOLLO is a preparatory action concerned with the creation and maintenance of documents in different languages in banking. Open to subsequent extension, the application will initially focus on banking courseware management and products marketing documents in French and English. Demonstration will involve integration of a processing system with facilties for parallel editing of the same text in different languages, a document version management module, and an area-specific machine translation module. There will be an emphasis on open design, enabling the integration of other tools and use of the system in common office environments.
Over the year APOLLO has successfully competed its three major tasks:
- a market study covering the needs in the banking sector for a multi-lingual document authoring and management workbench, and, current market offerings.
- a mock-up of a workbench for multi-lingual document creation and management.
- specifications and a workplan study for a full fledged future workbench.
Following the market study, and some unexpected findings, the specification phase was slightly delayed. The project will have to refocus the specifications and target a different sector than banking.
STE, in close collaboration with ABB, IFBL and INIST, have studied the needs for multi-lingual tools of the banking sector in Belgium, France and Luxembourg. The results were then compared to the needs in the industrial sector. From the data collected, it is obvious that the banking sector has very specific needs and it seems that current technology cannot satisfy these needs.
The needs for multi-lingual authoring tools in banks vary strongly, depending on the country. In Luxembourg these needs are almost non-existent whereas in Belgium and France their seem to be real, but nevertheless small, needs for such tools.
The types of documents handled in banks vary much more than those in industrial environments. This makes it almost impossible to identify a sub-language specific to the field of banking and finance. As a consequence, and because of their current limitations, machine translation systems can only produce low quality translations of most texts used in banks. Unfortunately, this quality level does not satisfy the users in a banking environment and expensive post editing would be necessary to reach an acceptable quality level.
Finally, current product offerings were surveyed and evaluated against user needs in the banking sector. This confirmed the user requirement study conclusions in that none of the existing products really fits the user needs that were identified. It is clear that the unexpected results of the market study will have an impact on the orientation of the envisaged APOLLO follow-up project.
APOLLO has developed a mock-up workbench for demonstration purposes. The workbench consists of:
- multi-lingual text processor
- a machine translation component and
- a version management component.
Development of the workbench is based on:
- collected corpora and lexical resources. On the basis of these resources limited lexicons and language models were then developed.
- adaptation of the CAT2 machine translation system for the workbench according to the requirements of corpora,
- use of the resources to implement a multi-lingual dictionary component integrated in the Interscript text processor.
- adaptation of the Interscript text processor to handle multi-lingual documents. SILIS extended the internal document architecture of Interscript and created a new Interscript document type.
- definition of a multi-lingual SGML Document Type Definition (DTD) for formated multlingual documents.
- implementation of a conversion utility that enables Interscript to convert documents to and from the APOLLO DTD format.
- implementation of an SGML based document version management component.
- integration of the version management component in the Interscript text processor.
User Group, Promotion and Awareness
The APOLLO user group is co-ordinated by STE and consists of ABB (the Belgian bankers' association), IFBL (the banking training institute in Luxembourg) and INIST (the documentation centre of the CNRS in France).
All the users participated in a series of user information meetings that were organised at the beginning of the project. The objective of these meetings was to raise the users' knowledge of the field of multi-lingual document authoring and management to a more or less uniform level. The definition of the user needs and the market study on existing products is entirely done by the APOLLO user group, co-ordinated by STE. Furthermore, the APOLLO user group intensively participated in the functional specifications of the APOLLO mock up workbench.
Two papers on the APOLLO are currently under preparation, one should be published in the magazine 'Computerlife', the second in the magazine 'Luxembourg Business'.
The Way Ahead
The pilot APOLLO project comes to an end in march. The results of the user study being completed, the project will finish prototype development and then refocus the project towards another sector.
Computer supported multilingual document creation and maintenance is part of most company's everyday life. However, current solutions do not use linguistic knowledge extensively which could significantly improve the productivity of the documentation process. Moreover, these systems mostly represent closed solutions with limited functionalities. A more elegant interaction between the system components is therefore required and will be achieved by APOLLO.
Users will be represented by the ABB and IFBL (bank associations) and INIST (a documentation centre) who will use the workbench internally and disseminate the results into the banking community. However, the results will have a much wider impact, as such systems can be applied in all sectors, specifically in the translation services of companies providing information in Europe and the rest of the world.
Currently the project has three main objectives:
- clearly identify and specify the end user needs in the sector of banking and finance,
- to develop a mock-up workbench for demonstration of the possibilities of state of the art multilingual document management,
- develop and refined a proposal for a follow up project.
The pilot application will consist of several interacting components; a multilingual text processing component (Interscript), an SGML based versioning tool and a machine translation module (CAT2).
Progress and results
The mock-up will cover only one language pair (English and French) in a limited subdomain of the banking field.
The most important deliverables are a market survey, the functional specifications and mock-up of the APOLLO workbench.
The workbench developed during the project will not be a commercial product. Nevertheless, the commercial partners in the project will use the extensions to their products for further developments.
All results of the project will be made publicly available over the World Wide Web and information seminars will be organised. At the end of the project, concertation activities with other consortia will be set up. Projects overlapping with APOLLO will be identified and the consortium will investigate the potential for future collaboration within the follow-up project. The follow up project APOLL0-2 which will lead to a commercializable product.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts